Jim Brown, lead level designer on Gears of War 3
, said Checkout focuses on close-quarters combat and offers an array of hidden interactive elements that come into play. Trenches gives the tactical advantage to whichever team can take and hold the hill. Adding to the challenge is a randomly generated sandstorm that creates a window for the opposing team to sneak up and overtake the position.
"One of the cool things about Overpass is this huge dynamic component where the entire world shifts and starts sinking underground in real-time," said Brown. "While this doesn't impact gameplay, by the end of the map the teams are playing inside an underground cavern. The effect is cool because you're fighting while watching the map transform before your eyes."
There are the hardcore ranked guys who can go on and play together, but we're also catering to gamers who just want to jump into the first room that has an opening for a player.- lead level designer Jim Brown
Epic has been developing new gameplay modes that take advantage of these types of maps. Its newest incarnation is Capture the Leader, which adds a twist to the popular Capture the Flag mode by sending a team after the opposition's leader. The leader has some special abilities to offset the hunt and ensure players aren't focusing just on defensive positioning and finding a place to hide. King of the Hill returns as a mixture of game modes Annex and King of the Hill, in which a ring forms and players pile in and try to take the hill. While War Zone and Execution will remain in the new game unchanged, Epic's serving up a new variation aimed at the more casual gamer.
"We've found that a new user coming in for the first time generally gets shot in one of these modes and ends up watching other people play for five to ten minutes," explained Brown. "Not surprisingly, they decide that's not what they want to do, so they don't ever come back and play. Team Deathmatch is our answer to this problem. It's very much the essence of the way we think Gears
was meant to be played. It's classic Team Deathmatch, where teams re-spawn and go out and shoot one another, but we've done our best to add a Gears
twist to it. Once a front is established, you will spawn in groups so that you can maintain a front and struggle to keep it over the course of a match. We also cap the number of re-spawns in this mode to build up to a dramatic ending, where you might have one versus four players in an intense final battle."Gears of War 3
also introduces new weapons to the mix, adding a very specific range in which these guns can be used most effectively. Lee explained that the sawed-off shotgun is good for super close-range and melee combat, while the retro lancer bridges the gap between close-range shotgun play and rifle play. Snipers will want to utilize the hammer burst, which has a great zoom for long-range shots.